As more teachers across Florida prepare to be vaccinated, questions loom

Coronavirus vaccinations are set to expand in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis says some teachers and law enforcement are next in line to get the COVID vaccine.

This is something teachers across Florida have been pushing for over several months.  Now, the question becomes: who’s considered a teacher?

"We have a lot of teachers that have desperately wanted to get the vaccine that are looking forward to it," said Seminole County Public Schools Communications Officer Michael Lawrence.

"Well, it’s better late than never and a long time coming," said Seminole Education Association President Dan Smith.

It was encouraging news for teachers across Florida Tuesday after the governor announced at a news conference law enforcement and teachers aged 50 and older would likely be the next group to get the COVID vaccine.

Brevard Public Schools has more than 4,400 employees 50 and older, including the 65+ staff who have already been able to get the vaccine.

In Orange County Public Schools, there are more than 3,400 classroom teachers between the ages of 50 and 65. That’s about 14% of district employees.

In Seminole County, there are just over 2,000 teachers and support staff between 50 and 65, which is about 29% of total employees.

But here’s what it comes down to: are support staff and other employees included as "teachers?"

"Every school has a lot of support staff as well. So you have the front office folks, the clinic folks, all our extra helpers that go into the classroom, even substitute teachers," said Lawrence.

"We also have our guidance counselors and we have our instructional coaches and we have other people who are mixing," said Smith.

Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar brought up the same point Tuesday. "If we truly are trying to make sure we keep everyone safe and protect the learning environment, it just makes good sense to make sure everyone who works in our schools has access to the vaccination."

Smith says if he had to guess, he assumes teachers would be classified as any teacher with their own classroom roster.